Dr Shane Clifton

5. Dr Shane Clifton, Dean of Theology, Alphacrucis College, New South Wales, Australia.     

Reason, Will, and Theological Anthropology – a Friendly Disagreement with Hans Reinders     

The virtue tradition, which traces its origins especially through the ethics of Aristotle, understands flourishing according to a teleological vision of human nature that emphasises reason and will. This logic became central to the anthropology of Thomas Aquinas and thereafter to Roman Catholic anthropology, which grounds its understanding of human nature in the rational capacity that distinguishes humans from other animals. A number of contemporary philosophers have applied virtue theory to thinking about disability, notable among them being Alasdair MacIntyre in Dependent Rational Animals, and Martha Nussbaum in Frontiers of Justice. Although both theorists emphasise the universality of human fragility and dependency, they continue to identify human nature according to reason and will.